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The White House Historical Association has selected three research fellows for the 2024 – 2025 David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History Fellowship Program. The fellows will conduct new research related to the White House, its occupants, workers, staff, and/or fine and decorative arts collections. Fellowships will take place beginning this summer and conclude in spring 2025.

“We are thrilled to announce this new class of Rubenstein Center research fellows,” said Dr. Matthew Costello, Chief Education Officer and Director of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History. “These projects will enhance our understanding of the White House across time and space, and more importantly demonstrate the Association’s commitment to support new research and innovative scholarship.”

2024 – 2025 Fellows:

  • Holly Cowan Shulman is a visiting professor at the University of Virginia and the editor of The Dolley Madison Edition. Holly co-edited with David Mattern, The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison. Both titles were published by the University of Virginia Press in addition to several articles about Dolley Madison. Holly is currently researching and writing a book about Dolley Madison and the enslaved men, women, and children who were part of her life. Part of this book will focus specifically on the White House years when James Madison was president and the Madisons lived in Washington, D.C.
  • Kyle Vratarich is a PhD candidate in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's History Department. Kyle earned an associate degree at the Community College of Baltimore County, a bachelor’s degree in history and geography from Towson University, and a master's degree in history from American University. Kyle is currently working on his dissertation at the University of Tennessee, which focuses on President Ulysses S. Grant’s private secretary, General Orville Babcock. Babcock set the mold for a new kind of political operative in the White House and changed the way Americans perceived the political realm.
  • Ben Zdencanovic is a postdoctoral associate at the Luskin Center for History and Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ben earned his PhD with distinction from Yale in 2019 and is the author of Island of Enterprise: The United States in a World of Welfare (forthcoming, Princeton University Press.) Ben is working on a book project that is a major reevaluation of the relationship between President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and the Vietnam War, aiming to shed new light on the Johnson presidency and the executive branch in the 1960s.

Last year, the Association supported research for a forthcoming book on Frances Perkins; the history and evolution of Passover at the White House; and research into the development of the Office of the First Lady and East Wing staff.

Learn more about the 2023 – 2024 fellows here.

Applications for Rubenstein Center Research Fellowships open each fall and close in January. Recipients are notified in March.

Each 2024-2025 fellow was selected based on their strong application materials, quality of project proposal, and clearly defined research goals. Each fellow will receive funds to use for travel, housing, and expenses incurred during the time researching in Washington, D.C.

For more information, contact

P.D.F. Resources

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About the White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $115 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit